Huntington: Andrew McCutchen making “remarkable” progress from injury

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Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has been trying to avoid a trip to the disabled list after suffering a an avulsion fracture involving the costochondral cartilage of his left 11th rib one week ago against the Diamondbacks. The Pirates have been taking it slow, giving McCutchen time to heal up, and it appears to have been the right call.

Via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said of the defending NL MVP’s recovery: “His progress has been remarkable. That’s the most apt word I can put on it.” Huntington continued:

The Pirates, who lost to the Padres 8-2 on Sunday afternoon, have gone 3-3 since McCutchen’s last start on August 3. The 27-year-old four-time All-Star was in the midst of another MVP-esque season, blasting 17 home runs, knocking in 67 runs, stealing 17 bases, and slashing .311/.411/.536.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.